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CFS Awards Recap Professionalism


This is the fourth article in our series profiling the 2017 NATCA National Professionalism Award winners.

Matt Sullivan (Potomac TRACON, PCT) is one of the five winners of this year’s second annual NATCA National Professionalism Awards. NATCA will recognize his great work on March 21 at Communicating For Safety. He is the co-winner for the Eastern Service Area.

The NATCA Professional Standards Committee (PSC) created the National Professionalism Award in 2015 as a means to recognize those members who have demonstrated a consistent personal commitment to safety and excellence, and whose professional contributions and individual performance has enhanced the standings of our profession.

Sullivan has been a controller for over 30 years. He started his career in the Navy. Currently he is a representative on the NATCA National Collaborative Workgroup where he works to create a culture of collaboration in the Eastern Region facilities between the NATCA representatives and the FAA managers. His calm demeanor, agreeable disposition, and soft-spoken voice instills trust in those he works with.

“Matt also takes the lead in mentoring the next generation,” said PCT FacRep Brandon Miller, who succeeded Sullivan as FacRep. “I am a byproduct of Matt’s leadership and guidance. He taught me the standard of what was expected of me as a leader. Matt provided the scaffolding necessary to make me successful. He understands the importance of making people feel valued for their contributions as well as appreciated for the sacrifices they make. He exemplifies ‘the others before self’ mentality that is becoming rare in our society.

“He is an example for all, young and old alike, to try and emulate in our profession. There is no one more deserving of this recognition.”

Sullivan’s peers and co-workers had this to say in the nomination materials for the award:

“Matt Sullivan could be considered the definition of Professional Standards. Matt is always looking for the best solution to advance the safe operation of the National Airspace System (NAS) whether it be through collaboration and teamwork, or through his leadership both within NATCA and the FAA. Matt is always willing to listen to concerns, gather additional information and to attack issues in a professional, balanced manner. Matt's sacrifice, dedication, and desire to improve the NAS are second to none.”

“Matt has always been friendly, positive, and an example of who we could all become.”

“Matt Sullivan was one of the first people to welcome me to Potomac TRACON when I started working here five years ago. His friendly, helpful personality struck me immediately. Even though he was busy with several obligations as the facility representative, he took the time to get to know me personally and made sure I had everything I needed to be successful in training and to make the transition to living in a new part of the country.”

“As I got to know Matt over the next few years, I saw him exemplify professionalism during good times and bad. He modeled collaborative decision-making with management. When there were issues within the bargaining unit, he emphasized the importance of treating everyone fairly. His responses were measured and savvy, reflecting years of wisdom and the highest regard for safety.”

“He built his reputation through years of establishing positive relationships and doing his job with the highest level of professionalism. He is well respected among his peers and is always willing to share his knowledge to those who ask.”

“I consider Matt a mentor. He has gone out of his way to put me in positions to be successful in my career. He has shown me that leadership does not require a heavy-handed approach. Instead, it requires leading by example, looking out for the best interests of the team, and finding ways to help everyone succeed.”

“He is someone who truly deserves the recognition from our peers to show their appreciation for all that he has done for our NATCA members and those that work with NATCA. Matt deserves to be recognized for this award and his life-long professionalism representing NATCA and the FAA throughout his career. This dedication to his job, his friends and his family is inspirational to all. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of a Professional Standards Award than Matt Sullivan.”

Learn more about the National Professionalism Award.

Previous stories in this series:
Aaron Rose (Seattle Center)
Nathan Holmberg (Indianapolis Center)
Pete Slattery (Charlotte)